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Housing and homelessness crisis is government created – McDonald

29 September, 2015 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has blasted the government for their contribution to the current housing and homelessness crisis. Speaking during  Leader’s questions today, Deputy McDonald reminded the Taoiseach how government cuts to social housing and a failure to release funds to local authorities have contributed enormously to the current situation.

Deputy McDonald said:

“Taoiseach, Alan Murphy died on the streets of our city last Friday. He was a young man in his 30s, sleeping rough only minutes away from this place. Alan was not the first person to die on our streets and I fear he won’t be the last.

“Last December Jonathan Corrie tragically lost his life while sleeping rough minutes from the Dáil. In response to the public outcry, your Minister for Housing Alan Kelly promised action. You yourself gave an emotional message of support to people left homeless, assuring them that they were not on their own.

 “Since last December - since Mr Jonathan Corrie’s death, the number of families presenting as homeless has increased. The number of children sleeping in emergency accommodation every night has increased. Rents have continued to spiral upwards. Evictions are becoming ever more frequent. More and more families are turning to the state for help.

“But instead of being offered shelter, we have the appalling situation of scores of families being turned away every single night, unable to source even emergency accommodation. Councils, meanwhile desperately wait for the funds to build the homes that these families need. Charities desperately wait for the funds to provide the much needed emergency accommodation.

 “The failure, Taoiseach, is yours and your government’s. You cut social housing budgets in your first years in office. You have not yet released the funding for local authorities to build the homes despite some having shovel-ready projects ready to go since 2013. You are failing to fund appropriate and sufficient emergency accommodation

“Taoiseach people do not need more high profile announcements – they need homes. So again I am asking you – what are you going to do for those families who tonight will not be able to access emergency accommodation? And when will your Minister for Housing release the funding to local authorities to build the houses that so many families desperately need?” 

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